BLM takes comment on 130-MW Invenergy solar project in Nevada

The Las Vegas Field Office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is taking public comment until Jan. 8, 2015, on a draft environmental assessment (EA) covering the Harry Allen Solar Energy Center, an up-to-130-MW project proposed by Invenergy Solar Development LLC.

This is one of three draft EAs that the federal agency is now taking comment on that cover projects within the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone. The EA is a project-specific analysis of potential impacts of this particular project within the BLM’s Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) (Parcel One of the SEZ).

On June 30, 2014, the BLM held a competitive auction for six parcels of public land within the Dry Lake SEZ. Invenergy Solar was one of three successful bidders to become a preferred applicant with the right to submit a right of way (ROW) application and Plan of Development (POD) for a solar energy project within the Dry Lake SEZ.

The Invenergy project would be built in phases. Phase I would consist of about 112 MW of capacity and Phase II would consist of approximately 18 MW. Both phases of the 715-acre project area (all on federal land) lie within Clark County, Nevada.

The Project is located about 15 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The town of Moapa is located 18 miles northeast, and the town of Overton is located 23 miles east of the project. All of the proposed project facilities are located on public lands administered by the BLM.

The power output would flow through a project substation onto an approximately 3,575-foot-long, single-circuit, 230-kV gen-tie line to the point of interconnection at the nearby Harry Allen substation of NV Energy.

The Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone proposals were submitted for consideration by the three successful bidders in the June 30 auction. The auction was part of a competitive leasing process required under the terms of the Western Solar Plan. Under the Western Solar Plan, BLM has designated 19 Solar Energy Zones covering more than 298,000 acres of public land. If fully developed, projects in the designated leasing areas could produce as much as 27 GW of solar energy.

Under President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Administration is taking a wide array of actions using existing authorities to reduce carbon pollution, increase energy efficiency, expand renewable and other low-carbon energy sources and strengthen resilience to extreme weather and other climate impacts. As part of the plan, announced in June 2013, the President directed the Interior Dept. to approve at least 20,000 MW of renewable energy capacity on the public lands by 2020.

Since 2009, Interior has approved 52 solar, wind and geothermal utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands, including associated electric transmission facilities and infrastructure to connect to established power grids. When built, these projects would total nearly 14,000 MW of capacity, BLM noted in a Dec. 8 statement about the three Nevada projects.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.